Tourneys bring in revenue locally

Published 12:04 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

Baseball may be America’s pastime, but the popular sport draws people and revenue dollars to the local communities.

Starting today, there will be two tournaments held in Andalusia and Opp.

Covington County’s Cal Ripken league will play host to the 12U state tournament at Johnson Park in Andalusia. Opp’s 15U Babe Ruth league will host its state tournament at the Opp Sportsplex.

City of Andalusia Director of Planning and Development Andy Wiggins said the tournaments help a lot.

“With the tournaments we have with the travel ball tournaments and the tournament this weekend, they do have an impact on our economy,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins said the boost is based on people coming into town and buying gas, groceries and eating at restaurants, to name a few.

“I don’t have any direct numbers, but we do see an increase in revenue and that’s why as a city we make it a point to host more of the travel ball types to help local businesses benefit from it,” he said.

Covington County is hosting the baseball tournament at Johnson Park. During travel ball season, the City of Andalusia rents the fields to travelling organizations.

When the last out is made and the lights are turned off, the out-of-town guests retreat to their hotel rooms.

Best Western Hotel Manager Neil Patel said his hotel in Opp is booked.

To help guests find their way around the area, Patel said he provides maps.

“We just try to get local maps and restaurants and everything in,” he said. “We have a map that has the hospital on it.”

Patel said having a map is beneficial for those who have some down time in between games.

In Andalusia, Holiday Inn Express also is booked this weekend, and for most of the summer, manager Kim Jenkins said.

Opp Mayor John Bartholomew said ball tournaments help out the economy in a big way.

“It has a tremendous effect on us,” Bartholomew said. “All of our hotels are full. They come and fill our hotels up, and eat at restaurants.”

Bartholomew equated folks coming in town for the tournaments like that of a small retail industry.

“They come in for a short amount of time and spend money,” he said.

Throughout the year, Bartholomew said city crews gear up for tournaments as the city is improving the parks and recreation areas with new concession stands and bathrooms for guests.